This has been a banner year for fans of cosmic horror and specifically cosmic horror videogames. I have previously reviewed Call of Cthulhu and The Sinking City, both of which had their ups and downs but essentially did a great job of dropping gamers into a world of monsters, cultists, and insanity.
Cultic games has chosen a different take on cosmic horror with an isometric RPG style in Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones has a history that reaches back to it’s original Kickstarter campaign in 2016 .The campaign was ultimately successful in raising the required funds and has spent that last few years growing and polishing itself through the due diligence of the developers Cultic Games out of Turkey. A demo was released sometime after so that contributors could get a taste of what the game had to offer during its testing and adjustment period. For those who were waiting for the game, I think that their hopes have been fulfilled.
Like many small Indy Games Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones has chosen to bypass the high polygon and high-resolution 3d style for a more efficient and accessible Isometric style. The choice of art design, which reminds me of the fabulous work of famous New England artist Edward Gorey, is absolutely perfect for the cosmic horror setting. I could not imagine a better aesthetic for the Eldritch monsters to crawl around. Beyond the look, the gameplay is great. Designing a character has so many wonderful options that you can use to find the balance you want to play the game with. Another benefit of having so many options is that replay value can offer you a different experience every time you want to revisit the game.
Features List From the Developers
- A hand-drawn 2D world which reflects the mood of Lovecraft and cosmic horror.
- Quests and storylines which capture the iconic themes of Lovecraft. Take part in your favorite horror stories and shape their outcome according to your role-playing style.
- Weirdest of companions will accompany you in your accursed journey. Lonely antediluvian of “The Outsider,” a dead WW1 soldier reanimated in the hands of Herbert West, a psychic narcissistic cat from Ulthar, and many more will be among your eccentric cast of companions.
- Sanity and the mental state of the character will have an influence on the dialog options. Mental conditions create benefits as well as hindrances. Sometimes being mad in a mad world helps!
- Belief Systems determine how your characters handle the challenging reality around them and help regenerate lost sanity. Belief Systems also offer unique dialogue options thus extending the roleplaying possibilities that players can explore. A rational character gains sanity after completing research on a mythos creature while a divine believer gains sanity after converting a lost soul to the path of God.
- A unique spell system which sometimes takes more than what it gives. The black magic of Stygian is very potent but will cost you your mind, health, and sometimes your very soul. Being a master of the true occult is not like flinging colorful missiles from your fingertips.
- Turn-based strategic combat in beautiful 2D Heroes of Might and Magic-like perspective.
- 8 different archetypes with completely unique prologue stories and specialties to breathe life into the Lovecraftian archetypes.
- The struggle is not for saving the world, that battle is lost already. Follow your personal goals for salvation or vendetta in a doomed world.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones was a game I wanted to get lost in, and I did just that. This is a game with a great look and depth to it. It creates a world that is fascinating to walk around in and look at. Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones offers a great cast of supporting characters that keep things interesting and colorful. The game retails for $25.49, which is a phenomenal value for the amount of game you are getting. So if role-playing in a world of cosmic horror is something you crave, pick up a copy of Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones.
A copy of Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones was made available by Cultic Games.
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